In our Behind the Moving Image series, we share the latest and greatest behind the scenes look at how our VFX geniuses bring to life some of our most iconic work. Check out BTS for Xbox ‘Us Dreamers’, Arm & Hammer ‘Once Upon A Time’, Technicolor ‘Masters of Colour’, Starburst ‘Turaffe and Carl’, O2 ‘Bubl’, Frangi ‘Goddess’, Vittel ‘Biodiversity’ France Television ‘Sumo’ and most recently John Lewis & Partners ‘The Boy and The Piano’.
The spot, which is set to Jo Cocker and Jennifer Warnes’ iconic tune ‘Up Where We Belong’, follows Wiggy the toupee, an unconventional lead character that rediscovers how amazing flying is, and the joy of seeing the big, wide world on his way to the family’s holiday destination. The brand’s 2019 positioning, ‘Feel good flying’, was designed to create an emotional connection with Australians and cut through a cluttered market.
Fabian Frank, VFX Supervisor, shares the creative insight and processes behind bringing the toupee to life and creating the journey of ease and most importantly, fun…
You’d think the biggest challenge on this spot was simulating long hair, but designing a character without legs, arms or face from a bunch of hairs that the audience would engage with was the true challenge. We started by creating character design sheets that would outline what the toupee would be able to do. How do the wings form? How do we suggest facial expressions by using strands of hairs to outline eyes and eyebrows? We even explored dynamic animated poses of how the toupee could roll itself up to do a barrel roll or playfully dive through clouds.
We played with the balance of hair stiffness, meaning how close the strands of hair would maintain a wing shape or how loose they would be. Striking that balance, very often tweaked and optimized per shot, was not only a technical but also a creative challenge.
For Gary the key element was to portrait a character that spreads its wings and finds its confidence throughout the journey finishing in a playful sequence above the clouds. To convey this progression of personality through animation we worked closely with him right from the beginning when we started the previs.
Collaboratively we came up with some great creative solutions, always trying to support the key storytelling points.
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